Saturday, October 18, 2008

Mama On: Being A Woman

"Hold your head up and walk like a woman."

My mother, the world's greatest proponent of Mamaknology, was adamant about this one. In her infinite vision and hard-won wisdom, she would see Michelle Obama as a spiritual daughter, as truly as I see her as my spiritual sister. Apparantly, I am not the only woman of color who senses, indulges, and celebrates this bond. I recently got this article from a friend, and it is too appropriate to forego the opportunity to share. Unfortunately, I do not have an author for attribution, but read on ...

Why white America fears Michelle more than Barack.
Excerpts from a 'Jack & Jill politics' newsletter:

As hard as it is to accept a black president, it's even harder to accept a black first lady. First Lady has always held a beloved sentimental mother/wife of the nation symbolism. Conservatives are not ready to have to look at this very BLACK woman with her degrees and her fierceness and see her as the epitome of the American mother/wife.

This will be a first for white people. They do not want this black woman in the White House as their first lady. That New Yorker cartoon was [actually] about Michelle - she was its focal point... look closely ... She is the leader, the one starting the "revolution" they want you to imagine...

MSNBC's Chris Matthews said, in the course of covering the Obama candidacy, 'He (Barack Obama) brings none of the 'bad stuff, you know?" By 'Bad Stuff', he meant the legacy of [whites] enslaving Africans in this country, keeping them as second-class citizens until 1965, a mere 11 years before this country celebrated its 200th anniversary. You know, 'the original sin', or 'the birth defect', as Condi Rice called it.

Barack escapes this 'bad stuff' only because his mother was white and may have had ancestors involved in the slave trade; and also because Barack's father was not African American. He was full blooded African and therefore Barack had no ancestors enslaved by America -- and so the white guilt factor is missing when they think of him. HOWEVER, NO SUCH LUCK WITH MICHELLE!

Michelle Obama is a direct threat and lightening bolt against White Superiority. Because, she's Black. VISIBLY BLACK. But it's important to note, she does not, in any way, shape, or form, contour to the acceptable Black Pathologies that enable White Supremacy to sigh with relief. [welfare mother, fatherless child, druggie, etc.] Michelle was raised in a neighborhood. In a home. With TWO parents. No child revolving in and out of jail. Raised by a Black man who not only provided for his family, but did so, WITH A DISABILITY. Her mother had a working class job - secretary- but it was taken ONLY after she had seen her youngest child settle into HIGH SCHOOL.

Michelle Obama's poise, her confidence, her aura - that was created by that humble Black man, who by all accounts, adored her. He told her that she is worthy, and so, when you have that told to you by the first man who loves and protects you, you seek that validation of that in your choice of mate, you'll settle for nothing less, and Michelle hasn't.

Michelle Obama, doesn't fit any of the acceptable Black pathologies. And when you don't fit the acceptable Black pathologies, then you must be destroyed. Michelle Obama has become the face of the Black America whose existence is routinely denied by this country. Think about it: In ONE generation, the face of this 'Invisible America' has gone from living on the top floor of a bungalow, to the possibility of living in The White House. And yet, Michelle Obama, refuses to say, "I'm special," in order to give white America its usual security blanket [that she is one of the exceptions rather than the rule], So what should be done? Beat her down into submission?

Michelle Obama represents everything we black women want our daughters to be. When we stand up for her we stand up for ourselves. No other women in the world are more neglected and abused as African women, period. Michelle looks like [our] daughters, her daughters look like us. We love the way Barack looks at her and we adore the way he looks at his daughters. The Obamas represent the hope that we can be loved by our men and that they will support us in whatever we do.

Little African American girls need a vision and dream of what it is like to be loved by a man who looks just like them.

Is America ready for a First Lady who looks like her? A regular black woman? Not a passable biracial curly haired girl that they call black, but a regular black woman from the south side of Chicago? With dark skin? Is she going to be the face of The Woman on the largest pedestal in the country? A self-confessed "loud-mouth" black woman? If the Obamas succeed, it turns white supremacy upside down. And not because a black man is in the White House; but, because a black woman will be there who didn't have to come in the back door to lie in bed with the president.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Mama On: Ignorance

"Being ugly is never pretty."

The ugliness illustrated by this bogus "foodstamp" and the accompanying article baffle me. How does the Inland Republican Woment's group justify this blatant racism as "interesting" and then cry real tears when they get caught? Shame on these 'ladies'. Everybody who sees this item and this article knows you for the agents of racism and ignorance that you REALLY are.

Inland GOP mailing depicts Obama's face on food stamp

11:39 PM PDT on Thursday, October 16, 2008
By MICHELLE DeARMONDThe Press-Enterprise

The latest newsletter by an Inland Republican women's group depicts Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama surrounded by a watermelon, ribs and a bucket of fried chicken, prompting outrage in political circles.

The October newsletter by the Chaffey Community Republican Women, Federated says if Obama is elected his image will appear on food stamps -- instead of dollar bills like other presidents. The statement is followed by an illustration of "Obama Bucks" -- a phony $10 bill featuring Obama's face on a donkey's body, labeled "United States Food Stamps."

The GOP newsletter, which was sent to about 200 members and associates of the group by e-mail and regular mail last week, is drawing harsh criticism from members of the political group, elected leaders, party officials and others as racist.

An Inland Republican women’s group sent out a newsletter showing this fake $10 “food stamp” with Barack Obama’s face on it.

The group's president, Diane Fedele, said she plans to send an apology letter to her members and to apologize at the club's meeting next week. She said she simply wanted to deride a comment Obama made over the summer about how as an African-American he "doesn't look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills."

"It was strictly an attempt to point out the outrageousness of his statement. I really don't want to go into it any further," Fedele said in a telephone interview Tuesday. "I absolutely apologize to anyone who was offended. That clearly wasn't my attempt."

Fedele said she got the illustration in a number of chain e-mails and decided to reprint it for her members in the Trumpeter newsletter because she was offended that Obama would draw attention to his own race. She declined to say who sent her the e-mails with the illustration.

She said she doesn't think in racist terms, pointing out she once supported Republican Alan Keyes, an African-American who previously ran for president. "I didn't see it the way that it's being taken. I never connected," she said. "It was just food to me. It didn't mean anything else."

She said she also wasn't trying to make a statement linking Obama and food stamps, although her introductory text to the illustration connects the two: "Obama talks about all those presidents that got their names on bills. If elected, what bill would he be on????? Food Stamps, what else!"

Club Member Cries
Sheila Raines, an African-American member of the club, was the first person to complain to Fedele about the newsletter. Raines, of San Bernardino, said she has worked hard to try to convince other minorities to join the Republican Party and now she feels betrayed. "This is what keeps African-Americans from joining the Republican Party," she said. "I'm really hurt. I cried for 45 minutes."

The Obama campaign declined to comment. It's the campaign's policy to not address such attacks, said Gabriel Sanchez, a California spokesman for the campaign. The newsletter prompted a rebuke from another African-American member of the organization, which is well recognized in the community for its philanthropy and efforts to register and turn out voters in the Rancho Cucamonga and Upland areas. Acquanetta Warren, a Fontana councilwoman and member of the women's group, said the item is rude and requires a public apology.

"When I opened that up and saw it, I said, 'Why did they do this? It doesn't even reflect our principles and values,' " said Warren, who served as a Republican delegate to the national convention in September and is a regional vice chairwoman for the California Republican Party. "I know a lot of the ladies in that club and they're fantastic. They're volunteers. They really care -- some of them go to my church."

Warren forwarded an electronic version of the newsletter to the California Republican Party headquarters, where officials also were outraged Wednesday and denounced the illustration. Hector Barajas, the party's press secretary, said the party chairman likely will have a conversation with Fedele, and Barajas will attend the statewide California Federation of Republican Women conference this weekend in Los Angeles to handle any news media there to cover the controversy.

    Obama in Turban
The newsletter is not the first such episode Barajas has had to respond to this week. The Sacramento Bee on Wednesday posted an image it said was captured from the Sacramento County GOP Web site that showed Obama in a turban next to Osama bin Laden.
It said: "The difference between Osama and Obama is just a little B.S." The site also encouraged members to "Waterboard Barack Obama," a reference to a torture technique. The Sacramento County party took down the material Tuesday after being criticized.

Mark Kirk, a spokesman for the San Bernardino County GOP chairman, said he expects Chairman Gary Ovitt to also have a talk with Fedele and to attend the group's local meeting next week to discuss the issue with members, although the county GOP has no formal oversight role over the club. Kirk said these kinds of depictions hurt the party's ongoing efforts to reach out to minorities. "It's very damaging and we're going to take steps to correct this," Kirk said. "Unfortunately, I don't know what you do to correct ignorance like this, but we will do what we can."

Assemblyman Bill Emmerson, R-Redlands, and state Sen. Bob Dutton, R-Rancho Cucamonga, both criticized the illustration as inappropriate and irresponsible. Dutton pointed out that his wife, a member of the club, is of Mexican heritage and has battled criticism that the Republican Party is not the party for minorities. The club's newsletter undercuts efforts to rise above racism, he said.

"Bias and racial comments and even suggestions are frankly what weakens us as a people. I think we as Americans need to rise above that," he said. Emmerson said he was extremely offended and sickened by the newsletter. Barbara O'Connor, director of the Institute for the Study of Politics and the Media at Cal State Sacramento, said it's imperative that people speak out about these kinds of depictions no matter how small the organization. She praised Raines for doing so.

"It's a statement about what is civil discourse and can you get away with doing something under an organizational banner," she said. "You have to cut it out at the root and the root is often small organizations that are local and they then become larger."

Reach Michelle DeArmond at 951-368-9441 or
mdearmond@PE. com.